St. Paul plans to close three elementary schoolsby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The St. Paul School District plans to close three elementary schools at the end of the 2009-2010 school year in an effort to save money.
The closures, part of the district's "Large Scale System Change" plan, include Roosevelt, on the city's West Side; Longfellow, near Merriam Park; and Sheridan, on the East Side.
Sheridan would be re-tooled for a yet-to-be-named purpose, but Roosevelt and Longfellow would close entirely.
Other parts of the plan include changes to busing, similar to a plan underway in Minneapolis.
The district will be divided into three zones -- students can still go to any school but might have to arrange their own transportation if it's not in their home zone. That rule won't apply to seven citywide schools.
Portions of the district's plan will hinge on upcoming contract negotiations. St. Paul also wants to use federal stimulus money to pay for some of the changes to academic programs.
Chief Accountability Officer Michelle Walker said the closures were picked after the district looked at all school buildings and measured factors including each school's academic performance. enrollment trends, and geographic location.
"I wouldn't say that it was a difficult process; it certainly was a long process in terms of pulling all that information together," Walker said. "But we do think we did the best we could with the data we had in front of us and the information that we gathered."
The three closures would save a predicted $1.7 million and reduce the district's capacity by about 1,500.
The plan also calls for changing busing in a way that might require some students to find their own transportation, depending on which school they choose to attend.
Final approval from the School Board is planned for next month.